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468                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                CHAP.
In his award he distinguished between Sistan proper
and outer Sistan. The former he defined as running
from the nayzar, or reed beds, on the north to the main
canal on the south, the district being bounded at that
period by the Helmand on the east. This area, estimated
at nine hundred and fifty square miles, with a population
of 45,000, was awarded to Persia. Outer Sistan, or the
district on the right bank of the Helmand, was awarded
to Afghanistan.
From the point where the main canal started, at the
great dam known as the Band-i-Sistan, the frontier was
declared to run in a direct line to Kuh-i-Malik-i-Sia, the
spot—at that time unvisited—where both Persia and
Afghanistan now touch the Indian Empire. This decision
was undoubtedly favourable to Persia and granted her
all she could reasonably claim. Shir Ali, on the other
hand, gained no part of the most fertile tract, Afghan
Sistan being relatively barren and unpopulated. But, as
Rawlinson put it, " Sistan, in fact, was Persian territory,
which had been irregularly attached at different periods
to Herat and Kandahar." Given this fact and given the
recent exertions of Persia, the award, however unpalatable
to Shir Ali, was just.
The Perso-Baluck Boundary Commission, 1896. — Sir
Frederic Goldsmid had thus delimited first the boundary
from Guattar, the port on the Arabian Sea, to Kuhak,
and later that from Sistan to Kuh-i-Malik-i-Sia. Between
these two points lay an area, three hundred miles in length,
which was mostly desert, but contained some debatable
date groves claimed both by Persia and by Kharan, a
desert province of British Baluchistan. Owing mainly
to the existence of these, a Boundary Commission was
constituted in 1896 under Colonel (now Sir Thomas)
Holdich, on which I had the honour to serve.1 Kuhak
had been seized, upon the departure of General Goldsmid,
by the active Ibrahim Khan, but the British Government
had never recognized it as belonging to Persia. By the
award of the Commission it became a Persian possession,
while the southern Mashkel date groves, including
1 Ten Thousand Miles, etc., chap. xix.